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Research and Collections | Bakken Museum

Research and Collections

Take a closer look!

Discover The Bakken's historical collections of instruments and books and take advantage of this unique and rich resource!


Artifact Collection
Get an overview of the artifact collection and search our artifact catalog.


Library Collection
Discover treasures of the library collection and search our library catalog.


Research Projects
Learn more about how researchers use the collections at The Bakken.


Teacher Academy
Read up on our latest collaboration with Minneapolis Public Schools.


Further Resources
Find projects and collaborations that might be helpful for your research.


Featured Works

Let's take a wander and explore works of friends
of The Bakken Collections.

History of the Collections

During the first half of the l970s, the books and instruments were kept at the Medtronic corporate headquarters in St. Anthony Village, a suburb of Minneapolis, where a small museum was set up for their display. In 1975, the collection was moved to a Medtronic branch office at the Earle Brown Center, a corporate office complex in Brooklyn Park, another Minneapolis suburb, and one floor was turned over to the Medtronic Museum of Electricity in Life, as it was initially called. In October 1975 the collection was incorporated as a private, non-profit operating foundation and named the Bakken Museum of Electricity in Life.

In 1976, its present home was acquired–a mansion located on the west shore of Lake Calhoun in southwest Minneapolis. The house, called West Winds, was designed by Carl Gage for William Goodfellow and combines English Tudor, European Gothic Revival, and other architectural styles. It was built in 1928–30 and had been a private residence until it was acquired by Bakken. The library and museum staff and many of the books and instruments were moved in, although some of the collection was placed in storage in an old church for the next few years. In 1981, a 1200-square foot underground vault was completed, providing the latest in security and environmental protection. New HVAC units, installed in 2014, maintain temperature at 67 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity at 43 percent in the vault. Relatively little conservation work has been needed on the collection due to the excellence of this storage facility and the fact that most of the books and instruments were purchased in good to excellent condition.

In 1981, the name was changed to the Bakken Library of Electricity in Life in order to emphasize the importance of books and other printed sources. As educational programming became more prominent, the name was changed in 1986 to The Bakken. The Bakken is a 501(c)3 public non-profit organization. Charity information is available via the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.